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ALQUDAH v. BARR (2020)

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United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Hussein Mohd Khair Ahmed ALQUDAH, aka Hussein Mohd Khair Alqudah, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, United States Attorney General, Respondent.*

No. 19-855-ag

Decided: May 18, 2020

PRESENT: PIERRE N. LEVAL, RAYMOND J. LOHIER, JR., JOSEPH F. BIANCO, Circuit Judges. FOR PETITIONER: Glenn L. Formica, Formica, P.C., New Haven, CT. FOR RESPONDENT: Joseph H. Hunt, Assistant Attorney General, Anthony P. Nicastro, Assistant Director, Sabatino F. Leo, Senior Litigation Counsel, for Office of Immigration Litigation, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC.


Petitioner Hussein Mohd Khair Ahmed Alqudah, a native and citizen of Jordan, seeks review of a March 18, 2019 decision of the BIA, which dismissed his appeal of a November 28, 2017 decision of an Immigration Judge (IJ) denying his motion for a continuance. Alqudah argues that the agency erred in denying his motion for a continuance because the IJ failed to credit certain evidence and the BIA applied the wrong legal standards when evaluating the IJ’s decision. We assume the parties’ familiarity with the underlying facts and the record of prior proceedings, to which we refer only as necessary to explain our decision to deny Alqudah’s petition for review.

1. The IJ’s Decision

“We review an IJ’s refusal to grant a continuance for abuse of discretion.” Rajah v. Mukasey, 544 F.3d 449, 453 (2d Cir. 2008). Alqudah contends that the IJ failed to “properly credit[ ] the serious illness of Mr. Alqudah’s wife” when determining whether a continuance was warranted. Petitioner’s Br. 9. But the IJ expressly “acknowledge[d] that [Alqudah’s] wife apparently has some serious medical issues which [Alqudah] assists her with.” Certified Admin. R. at 79. The IJ nonetheless declined to grant a continuance, applying the factors laid out by the BIA in Matter of Hashmi, 24 I. & N. Dec. 785 (B.I.A. 2009), and concluding that the underlying I-130 petition filed on Alqudah’s behalf was not prima facie approvable. As we have previously held, an IJ’s denial of a continuance while an I–130 visa petition is pending is not an abuse of discretion where “there is a reliable basis to conclude that the visa petition ․ will ultimately be denied.” Pedreros v. Keisler, 503 F.3d 162, 166 (2d Cir. 2007). Alqudah has failed to rebut the IJ’s implicit conclusion that approval of the I-130 petition was barred because of Alqudah’s prior fraudulent marriage. We therefore reject his challenge to the IJ’s decision.

2. The BIA’s Decision

Alqudah next argues that the BIA applied the wrong legal standards when reviewing the IJ’s decision by: (1) relying on Matter of L-A-B-R-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 405 (A.G. 2018); and (2) “asserting that it cannot grant relief on the basis of humanitarian or equitable grounds.” Petitioner’s Br. 2 (quotation marks omitted). We decline to consider the first argument and reject the second. The BIA did not rely on Matter of L-A-B-R- as Alqudah contends. Instead the BIA stated that Alqudah failed to “establish good cause for a continuance” under the factors set forth in Matter of Hashmi. Certified Admin. R. at 3. And Alqudah fails to point to any binding authority requiring the BIA to issue the equitable, humanitarian relief that he seeks. Accordingly, we reject Alqudah’s challenge to the BIA’s decision.

We have considered Alqudah’s remaining arguments and conclude that they are without merit. For the foregoing reasons, the petition for review is DENIED.

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